The Writer & The Ghostwriter :: Zoran Živković

The Writer & The Ghostwriter

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tošić

The Writer: A Very Short Novel, without Chapters, about Writing and Darkness
Where does all the writing come from? Is it divine inspiration, a bolt of lightning that reveals a whole new work in a single glimpse, or a unique gift granted by demonic forces to penetrate the darkness and see beyond it? Two fundamental principles of the most noble of all arts are in the permanent collision, surrounded by the contagious environment of the authors’ vanity, envy, malice.

The Ghostwriter
A writer sits down to work, but who can resist the addictive temptation of the email inbox? Each message alert brings a new question and a fresh challenge, until a tangled web weaves its way around the hapless author. Yet all the while his cat, Felix, gets on with life regardless. Zoran Zivkovic’s hilarious new novella lays bare the oddities and absurdities of the writing life: the traps writers set for themselves and the snares readers lay for them. Here, too, are fascinating puzzles about the nature of authorship and the writer’s identity, the relationship between the writer and their work and between the writer and the reader, the reader and that which is read. Above all, though, it is a paean to the Cat, to a relationship which in its simplicity and innocence, its playfulness and affection, makes nonsense of all these human perplexities.


  • In The Ghostwriter, [the protagonist] is juggling email exchanges with five different people, some entirely anonymous, some known to him in different capacities. What the email exchanges share is exploration of the idea of writing under a pseudonym. … The back and forth between Felix and his pushy correspondents, with their different demands and suggestions, is quite amusing, and allows for an interesting exploration of the question of authorship and attribution. Admirably, too, the five very different variations on the theme are brought quite nicely together: as usual, Živković is very good with the final knot tying his stories together.
    Michael Orthofer, Complete Review
  • The fact that you are reading a story about a science fiction writer written by a science fiction writer is the kind of metafictional “mind-game” the writer of The Writer likes to play. The depiction of an “unreality”—or, in many cases, multiple “unrealities”—raises complex questions about existence that do not lead to clear answers.
    —David Soyka, The New York Review of Science Fiction
  • As might be expected of a European academic trained in literary theory, Živković mingles postmodern flourishes—self-reflexivity, deconstructionist ruminations—with the materials of speculative fiction. Overall, he perhaps most strongly resembles Italo Calvino in the latter’s fantastic vein. Surrealism, incongruous introspection, teasing narrative geometries, and startling systems of hyperbolic wit shape and illuminate his yarns, lending them an Escheresque elegance… a surrealist tour de force.
    —Nick Gevers, Locus


  • Pages: 144
  • Trim size
    Hardcover: 5″ x 8″ (127mm x 203mm), with dj
    Softcover: Hardcover: 5″ x 8″ (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN
    Hardcover: 978-4-908793-02-8
    Softcover: 978-4-908793-24-0
    Ebook: 978-4-908793-34-9
  • List Price
    Hardcover: US$20.00
    Softcover: US$9.00
    Ebook: US$5.99
  • Cover: Youchan Ito (Togoru Art Works)

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